Diageo outlines 5 key consumer trends for 2024, including neo-hedonism

2023/12/15 Innoverview Read

Dive Brief:

  • Consumers are increasingly looking to find meaning in everyday life, often swapping things for experiences, according to a new report from spirits marketer Diageo.

  • Sixty percent of Millennial and Gen Z consumers would prefer to spend money on life experiences rather than saving for retirement, according to Distilled: A Diageo Foresight Report. The shift toward searching for meaning is dubbed neo-hedonism.

  • The report pointed to five consumer trends impacting brands in the months ahead: neo-hedonism, betterment brands, conscious well-being, expanding reality and collective belonging. It is based on information gathered by a proprietary tool, the Diageo Foresight System, that monitors and tracks online conversations around the world.  

Dive Insight:

An important takeaway from Diageo’s research is the need for brands to not shy away from change. Instead, they should rethink strategies and stay nimble, because consumer needs are evolving, per Mark Sandys, chief innovation officer, in the report. Data for the report was collected between July 2021 to June 2023.

The trend toward what Diageo calls neo-hedonism sees consumers looking for moments of everyday indulgence. This might include unique products and experiences, alternative spaces for socializing that are enriching and a more democratized vision of indulgence for all. Conversations surrounding the trend reached 1.4 million, up 39% year-over-year.

Brand betterment is Diageo’s term for the desire to see brands do good in the world. The report found 81% of people believe social media has increased pressure on businesses regarding environmental, social and governance accountability. Additionally, 63% of consumers believe high prices are the main hindrance to sustainability adoption. Social buzz surrounding brand betterment drove 5.6 million conversations, up 44% YoY.

Looking ahead, Diageo recommends brands look for ways to help consumers bridge the gap between what they say the want — brands that embrace sustainability and responsibility as core values — and the hurdles in the way of making sustainable purchasing choices, such as price, availability and overall experience.

A more intentional approach to well-being, which Diageo refers to as conscious well-being, was spurred by the COVID pandemic and remains a top priority, with the report tracking 4.3 million related conversations on social media, a 30% increase YoY. Subtrends in this category include at-home and near-home sanctuaries, self love, social occasions that are enriched by a slower pace and interest in multi-functional products that add on well-being-related benefits. North America saw an 18% growth rate in related conversations on social media, while Asia Pacific saw a 65% uptick.

The report also points to the growing interest surrounding the metaverse and augmented reality, reporting a 94% YoY increase in social media conversations related to the trend Diageo identifies as expanding reality, amounting to a total of 4.6 million. Popular subtopics include digital marketplaces, AI use, digital art and wholly VR events.

Another trend identified by the research is collective belonging, which sees consumers seeking out real world virtual spaces that embrace unity and acceptance. Key findings related to this trend include that 48% of 18-to-44-year-olds engage more digitally than they do in real life. The idea of collective belonging drove 28.7 million related conversations on social media, a 41% YoY increase. Consumers discussed this trend through diversity initiatives, online communities and influencer sponsorships.

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